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Nutritionist: Who Are They And How To Choose One


Nutritionists are the people who may advise their clients on the types and quantity of food they should consume to either increase or decrease their body weight.

If you are in search of a nutritionist, then this article will help you by telling you all about a nutritionist and how they could help you promote a healthy diet and improve your health.

What Is A Nutritionist?

As the name itself suggests, a nutritionist is a proficient person[1] who knows all about the consumption of an ideal diet and nutrition to manage various diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.

A nutritionist may suggest to the people what they should eat to achieve their particular health-related goals. Generally, nutritionists could work either in hospitals, nursing homes, medical offices, or even long-term care facilities.

Since nutrition is a wide area of expertise in the real world, you could find two major areas of concentration in this field. These areas include Clinical Nutrition and Community nutrition.

As the name itself suggests, clinical nutritionists may work in clinical settings and deal with one-on-one situations.

On the other hand, community nutritionists may work at schools, recreational centers, community health clinics, local, state, or federal government agency programs, and health maintenance organizations.

What Does A Nutritionist Do?

The major role of a nutritionist might be to work as part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team that includes a plethora of other professionals like doctors, nurses home health care providers, and other social workers.

Together with this team, the nutritionist might optimize the treatment for the patients and prepare the diet charts for them.

Preparing the diet chart includes taking into consideration different factors like allergies and food intolerances, eating disorders[2], or even gastrointestinal and weight issues of the people.

Hence, the nutritionist might provide customized information for specific patients.

Some of the job roles of a nutritionist include-

  • Explaining the concept of nutrition and healthy eating[3] habits to the patients.
  • Analyzing the customized health requirements and diets of the clients.
  • Preparing diet charts and meal plans for the particular client based on the client’s preferences and budget.
  • Assessing the effects of the meal plans and the particular diet charts on the clients and modifying those accordingly.
  • Contribute their part to the nutritional science research and translate the nutrition science into practical advice for their clients.
  • Promoting better nutrition by giving pieces of advice and talking to groups about nutrition, diet, and good eating habits or how to manage specific diseases.
  • Analyzing the progress and health of the clients regularly.

How To Choose A Nutritionist For Weight Loss?

When it comes to weight loss, there is plenty of advice out there, be it in magazines, books, or on the Internet. However, getting the right piece of advice for your particular self might be a daunting task.

Here comes the importance of choosing a nutritionist that can guide you through the entire weight loss journey.

With so many options available, it might become overwhelming for you to choose the best weight loss procedure. Hence you can simply select a nutritionist who can create a customized plan for your weight loss journey.

Here are certain ways that will help you to look for the right nutritionist.

  1. Assess the personality of the nutritionist

    Many times the relationship of a person with his or her nutritionist is damaged because their personality doesn’t match.

    Due to this, you should always choose a person or a nutritionist that matches your personality and goals. Some of the professionals or nutritionists might be rude and a bit harsh.

    So if you cannot handle such harsh recommendations then you may always choose a person who matches your personality.

  2. Assess the credentials

    Another important factor to keep in mind while choosing a nutritionist is to have a background check of your nutritionist.

    You can perform this background check in terms of the credentials or the types of programs enrolled in by your nutritionist.

    This may help you to have a cognizance of the skill levels of your nutritionist and see whether they match your requirements or not.

  3. See their testimonials

    One of the best ways to substantiate the reliability and credibility of your future nutritionist is to see their testimonials.

    These testimonials may include either the online reviews or you could even have a word with the people who had hired them in the past.

  4. Assess the choices they give for weight loss

    This is one of the most crucial factors to consider. The right nutritionist may provide you with several choices for weight loss instead of concentrating on only a single technique.

    Moreover, he or she might not even push you for a diet that is going on as a trend or a partner program.

    A good nutritionist may always help you by providing you with modified weight control plants that are manageable, effective, and do not have any side effects.

    Thus, these are some of the factors or crucial elements that you may keep in mind before hiring the right nutritionist.

Is A Nutritionist A Doctor?

Generally, a nutritionist may either be a licensed nutritionist or even a healthcare export with no license.

A licensed nutritionist is a healthcare professional that specializes in the field of nutrition and has received credentials from nationally recognized institutions.

On the other hand, a nutritionist may not even have a license because many states do not require nutritionists to procure a license.

The minimum education requirements for a nutritionist include a bachelor’s degree in a nutrition-related field like Human Nutrition, Dietetics, or general nutrition.

But if you want to procure a certification as a nutritionist, then you may even be required to meet certain examination and experience requirements.

All this information shows that a nutritionist is not a doctor. So he or she cannot be called a doctor unless and until he or she gets a Ph.D.

On the other hand, a doctor may be a nutritionist if he or she chooses to become certified in this field.

Dietician Vs Nutritionist

Though both the terms dietician and nutritionist are used interchangeably by the people, they are quite different[4] in their meanings.

Nutritionists and Dieticians both provide diet plans and nutrition-related bits of advice to the people, but both these types of professionals have different qualifications.

Dietitians have to be certified to treat the clinical conditions, but the nutritionist may not always be certified. Different organizations certify the dietitians, like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the US.

On the other hand, the organization that certifies nutritionists includes the Board For Certification Of Nutrition Specialists. However, there are only some states that require nutritionist training and certification.

Moreover, the role of a dietitian might be more regulated as compared to that of a nutritionist. The biggest difference between both these types of professionals lies in the legal restrictions provided to them.

Who Is A Veterinary Nutritionist?

Veterinary nutrition is a specialty of nutrition and veterinary under which the practicing candidates can become board certified diplomated.

With a focus on the sub-specialty of animal nutrition, veterinary nutritionists are board-certified veterinarians. Moreover, they[5] can further specialize in their area of work by choosing a specific category, like large animals or small animals.

All veterinary nutritionists may have though following tasks or job roles.

  • Evaluating the body condition of the particular animal.
  • Formulating diet charts.
  • Supervising the veterinary nutrition technicians.
  • Creating special diets for the animals according to their body requirements and to evade any diseases.
  • Providing specialty consultations and balancing the complete rations.

Other than the above-mentioned job opportunities and roles, veterinary nutritionists could even work as lecturers in veterinary colleges.

Moreover, they might provide additional duties in the field of corporate research by rendering information related to nutritional analysis, clinical trials, and product development.

Who Is A Pregnancy Nutritionist?

A pregnancy nutritionist is an expert in the field of pregnancy nutrition who could help the expectant mothers as well as the new mothers to meet their postnatal and prenatal nutrition requirements.

A postnatal or postpartum nutritionist might help the mothers with weight management and ensure an adequate diet[6] to promote a healthy breast milk supply.

They may also guide new moms to adopt an ideal and customized Postpartum diet plan, and help them to maintain optimal energy levels.

Apart from this, a pregnancy nutritionist even includes a prenatal nutritionist who could help the expectant mothers with their prenatal nutrition needs.

Let’s know about them in detail.

Who Is A Prenatal Nutritionist?

As the name itself suggests, a prenatal nutritionist is a type of nutritionist that is trained to provide information to pregnant ladies and help them with their proper diet and nutrition.

Apart from this, these types of nutritionists could even inform[7] the expectant mothers about all aspects related to infant nutrition and breastfeeding.

The general rule of a prenatal nutritionist is to provide advice to the expectant mothers who have concerns related to special diets, struggle with weight problems, or even different food allergies.

First of all, they could evaluate the health records of the expectant moms and later on concoct specific dietary assessments and plans according to their requirements.

Once the data is compiled, they may assess the progress of the expecting moms and make necessary modifications to the diet to provide the best possible nutrition to the mothers and the babies.

You can check out this study[8] to know more about prenatal nutritionists.

Final Words On Nutritionist

Thus, nutritionists are adept healthcare providers who could work with individuals or even groups to teach them more about the concept of food, health, and general nutrition.

Their major focus is on food behavior and they could even choose a sub-specialty in the field of nutrition, like prenatal nutrition, pregnancy, nutrition, or veterinary nutrition.

Hopefully, this article has provided you with great insight into all the aspects of nutrition and how a nutritionist can help you with your diet and nutrition-related issues.

+8 References/Sources

Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. The Role of Nutrition in Maintaining Health in the Nation’s Elderly: Evaluating Coverage of Nutrition Services for the Medicare Population. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK225306/
  2. Eating Disorders Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/eatingdisorders.html
  3. Benefits of Healthy Eating Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/resources-publications/benefits-of-healthy-eating.html
  4. Dietitians and Nutritionists Last Modified Date: Monday, April 18, 2022 Available from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dietitians-and-nutritionists.htm
  5. May K. Kamleh,corresponding author1 Deep K. Khosa,2 Cate E. Dewey, et al. The Perceived Importance, Emphasis, and Confidence in Veterinary Nutrition Education of First-Year Canadian and US Veterinary Students Med Sci Educ. 2020 Mar; 30(1): 323–330. Published online 2020 Jan 13. doi: 10.1007/s40670-019-00908-w
  6. Maternal Diet Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/diet-and-micronutrients/maternal-diet.html
  7. Michelle A. Kominiarek and Priya Rajan Nutrition Recommendations in Pregnancy and Lactation Med Clin North Am. 2016 Nov; 100(6): 1199–1215.
    doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2016.06.004
  8. Hanifat Abisola Ibikunle, Ifeoma Peace Okafor, and Adebola Afolake Adejimi. Pre-natal nutrition education: Health care providers’ knowledge and quality of services in primary health care centres in Lagos, Nigeria PLoS One. 2021; 16(11): e0259237. Published online 2021 Nov 9. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0259237

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